Green MP slams Government's plan to extend detention of asylum seekers to 28 days
Green Party
Green Party

Green MP slams Government's plan to extend detention of asylum seekers to 28 days

New Zealand's immigration laws are being changed in a move the Government said will give more legal representation to those who arrive here seeking asylum. 

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said the current laws limit and jeopardise specialist support for those most vulnerable. 

However, the Green Party said there's a devil in the detail, which extends the time a person can be detained. It used to be 96 hours. Now it's 28 days. 

So who's right? Are they making asylum seeker laws better or worse? Expanding rights or cutting them back? 

Speaking with Lloyd Burr on Tuesday afternoon, Green MP Golriz Ghararman gave her opinions on the matter. 

"All they're doing is taking away rights… [It's] really, deeply disappointing from this Minister," Golriz said.

"The Minister's definition of expanding their rights is to say, 'At the moment we don't feel like people who claim asylum here are getting specialised legal representation to have their cases heard,'... so instead of resourcing our system better, we'll just pass a law to say that they can't even be heard at all for 28 days.

"If you said that to anyone else, I don't think they'd see it as a really nice extension of their rights… Sitting in prison without even the right to have a judge determine whether you're a risk to the community or not, for a month.

"We don't do it in any other area of our law, it's only because these people are extremely vulnerable that he [Wood] feels like he can say that."

Golriz said if there is a "resource issue", the government should be "training up more of the duty lawyers in court to be able to deal with asylum seeker detention". 

"At the same time, the whole of the justice system needs to work more efficiently - appointing more judges - and none of that is happening.

"They're being violently treated in prison, as you can imagine, after having fled a war… and our response is to pass a law to imprison them for longer."

Listen to the full interview between Golriz Ghararman and Lloyd Burr above.

You can also download the full interview on the Lloyd Burr Live podcast, and listen on the go. 

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